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15 Outdoorsy Things to do in Humboldt County


There are so many fun, outdoorsy things to do in Humboldt County that the area is an adventurer's dream.  The choices are almost unlimited but we've picked 15 we think you might like.  

On the cover - Big Trees Area.  This gorgeous spot in Southern Humboldt is our bonus sixteenth outdoorsy thing to do in Humboldt County and is located in a wonderland of gigantic redwood trees and warmer Humboldt temperatures.  Near Avenue of the Giants and inside Humboldt Redwoods State Park, Big Trees Area will leave you feeling in awe. 

Along the way to Big Trees Area is Rockefeller Forest, another wonderful place that is definitely worth a visit.  

More info -->  Big Trees Area

Explore Fern Canyon 

Fern Canyon is all about exploring, respectfully, and enjoying a part of Humboldt County that people from around the world travel to visit each year.  Located within the incredible Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Fern Canyon represents the magic of Humboldt. 

With fern covered walls that reach as high as 80 feet in some places, visitors are treated to fresh air, the sound of waves crashing in the distance, wildlife and the adventure that awaits as they make their way up the canyon.  Leave no trace. 

There is now a permit system in place at Fern Canyon during parts of the year.  Click HERE for more info about that. 

More info --> Fern Canyon

Take a Trip to Sequoia Park Zoo

Sequoia Park Zoo has always been a fun place to visit on a nice Humboldt day but with the addition of the Redwood Sky Walk, it's become one of Humboldt's best places to enjoy the local outdoors. 

Featuring a hands-on barnyard, an otter exhibit, salmon feeding, an aviary, a monkey exhibit and other fun exhibits that showcase some of the zoo's unique and diverse animals, the zoo now features an incredible sky walk that takes visitors high amongst the trees of Sequoia Park.

Sequoia Park, located right next to the zoo, features trails, a duck pond, multiple playgrounds and more.  The park is a great place for some picnic and chill time so bring some food and play to make an afternoon of it. 

More info -->  Sequoia Park Zoo

Enjoy a Walk at Headwaters Forest Reserve

It's hard to believe this incredible place is so close to Eureka.  The 7,400+ acre reserve features a family-friendly trail that runs along Salmon Creek and an old-growth forest that seems more remote than it is.  

The trail is peaceful and easy to navigate and offers the opportunity to get out and enjoy the beauty of south Eureka while taking in the gorgeous sights, the peaceful sounds and the fresh, clean air.  The first three miles move smoothly along the South Fork Elk River and lead to a gorgeous loop through an old-growth forest before heading back toward the parking lot. 

More info -->  Headwater Forest Reserve

Have Some Fun in the Shelter Cove Area

The beauty that you'll find when you arrive in Shelter Cove makes it worth every twisty mile it takes to get there. 

The area may be most well known for being the home of Black Sands Beach, one of Humboldt's most remote beaches, but it has some other pretty incredible places to visit as well.  Mal Coombs Park has picnic areas, tidepools, plenty of wildlife to spot and is also home to the Cape Mendocino Lighthouse.  There is also a small, unique golf course you can play and a bike ride along Lower Pacific Drive, with stops at Seal Rock Park and Abalone Point, is really pretty incredible. 

When you get hungry, Shelter Cove has some fantastic restaurants; Mi Mochima and Gyppo Ale Mill, California's most remote brewery, are two we like. 

Get Some Sun at Kimtu Beach 

Less than an hour from 101, Willow Creek offers plenty of blue skies and sunshine, making Kimtu Beach an especially attractive place to spend a day swimming, playing, eating and just relaxing.  The cool waters of the Trinity are perfect for cooling down on those hot Humboldt days. 

Kayakers will have a great time exploring the shoreline and there are quite a few great places to jump off the rocks into the refreshing water. There are also some great places to ride bikes near the beach area. 

If you're looking for other fun in the sun while in the area, check out Veteran's Park or Creekside Park, which offers disc golf by the river.

More info --> Kimtu Beach   

So Many Things to See at Sue-meg State Park 

Sue-meg State Park is amazing!  This 600+ acre park features incredible views, beach access, camping, wildlife viewing, trails and so much more!  It's easy to spend an entire day exploring and enjoying this incredible park. 

Some popular places within the park include; Agate Beach, Sumeg Village, Palmer's Point, Mussel Rock, Ceremonial Rock and Wedding Rock.  Be sure to stop by the gift shop which features some really cool exhibits. 

More info -->  Sue-meg State Park 

Relax at a Local Beach

There are few things as mentally, emotionally and physically refreshing as spending some time at the beach.  Fortunately, Humboldt has quite a few incredible beaches to choose from. 

Samoa Dunes, Centerville Beach, Trinidad State Beach, Agate Beach and Golf Bluffs Beach are just a few of the places where the serenity of the Humboldt Outdoors can be enjoyed and appreciated. 

Visit Humboldt County Beaches for more information on places to visit. 

Spot Some Roosevelt Elk

At one time, these amazing creatures roamed from Canada down through Mendocino County but these days, Humboldt County is one of a few places left where you can see Roosevelt Elk grazing, relaxing and taking part in other activities in their natural habitat.  And it's quite a sight!

The best area to see them is north of Orick, near Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and the Bald Hills Road area.  Pay attention as you move north along 101 as they are often found just to the side of the highway, or trying to cross.  Davison Road, the same road that takes visitors to Fern Canyon, is also a popular place for spotting Elk and is close to the short trail that leads to Trillium Falls.    

Take a Trip to Ferndale

When people think of Ferndale, the quaint shops, great restaurants and the town's annual Christmas celebration usually come to mind.  However, Ferndale also has some pretty incredible places to enjoy the local outdoors that are definitely worth remembering.  

Russ Park, which is located just outside of town, is home to almost five miles of trails, wonderful views of Ferndale and all the peace & serenity one can handle.  

Head toward the coast and Centerville Beach awaits.  This ever-changing beach is great place to play, relax and catch an incredible Humboldt sunset.  If hiking is more your style, drive past Centerville Beach and you'll find the Fleener Creek and Guthrie Creek Trails.  Both trails offer beautiful views on their way to clean, appealing beaches. 

That's a good dog

Road Trip to Petrolia

Sometimes it's the journey and sometimes it's the destination.  When you're talking about a road trip to Petrolia, it's both.  The drive from Ferndale to Petrolia may be the the best inner-county road trip in Humboldt and leads to some remote, gorgeous beaches. 

Just outside of Petrolia is the Punta Gorda Recreation Area; home to the northern trailhead of the Lost Coast Trail, a chill campground and plenty of room to explore the gorgeous Lost Coast.  There are often seals playing just off the coast and if you're lucky, you'll spot a playful one cruising up the mouth of the Mattole River. 

Go for a Walk at the Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary

Spread out over three-hundred acres, the Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary features five miles of trails that offer incredible views of Humboldt Bay and the surrounding Arcata area.  The park is in the middle of a unique environment where every turn offers breathtaking views and a chance to see even more wildlife. 

Grab a leash and bring your dog as they are welcome to join you and bike riders will have a great time exploring the park.  

More info -->  Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary

Click the Graphic for a Comprehensive List of Humboldt Parks

Have you Checked out Humboldt Lagoons State Park?

Humboldt Lagoons State Park is made up of four parks; Big Lagoon County Park, Stone Lagoon, Freshwater Lagoon and Dry Lagoon, and each offers its own reasons to stop and explore. 

Big Lagoon is a popular place for kayaking, windsurfing, camping and fishing and each of the parks offers access to beautiful beaches, trails, wildlife, picnic areas and more.  Kayaking is also an option at Stone Lagoon, just north of Big Lagoon so you definitely have plenty of options of how you want to enjoy the Humboldt Outdoors when you visit the area.   

At less than a thirty-five minute drive from Eureka, it's closer than you might think. 

More info -->  Humboldt Lagoons State Park

Grab Some Fresh Goods at a Local Farmers' Market 

One of the best ways to enjoy the Humboldt outdoors is to eat it, literally.   Fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh air, sunshine and plenty of social activity make our local farmers' markets a unique way to celebrate and enjoy the Humboldt outdoors. 

Humboldt has a very active farmers' market schedule and there's so much more than just fresh produce to be found.  Art, locally made jellies, breads, honey, clothing and even dog toys can be found when you visit.  

Click the link for a list of --> Humboldt Farmers' Markets

Go for a Hike 

Whether you like hiking along the beach, hiking in the trees or both, Humboldt County has got it all.  It's almost an embarrassment of riches how many incredible trails we have.  Almost.  Regardless of your skill level, there's something for everyone and our trails are pretty impressive. 

Click the link for a list of Humboldt County Trails and enjoy a walk amongst some of the most incredible trees in the world. 

Spot the Wildlife at the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Families love the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge because the popular Shorebird Loop Trail (1.75 miles) is very manageable for kids and takes visitors right through the heart of the park. 

There is a diverse amount of wildlife that calls the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge home and the trail is a great place to see how many you can spot.   Located just north of Loleta, it's easy to find and free!

More info -->  Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge

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Written by PK for

PK is a Humboldt native who loves the regional outdoors and makes no claims of being a professional writer.

Always looking for an adventure, delicious food, great beer and road trips are his jam. 

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